Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hotelier Ian Reisner: I Am Deeply Sorry

"I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights. I've spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz' statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry. I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry." - New York City hotelier Ian Reisner, posting tonight to his Facebook page.

RELATED: Reisner's Out NYC hotel and its nightclub has been hit with several cancellations since news of his meeting with Ted Cruz was first reported by the New York Times. On Friday, Broadway Cares canceled its AIDS fundraiser. Yesterday the New York City Gay Men's Chorus abruptly canceled a fundraiser due to have taken place last night. Major club promoters have backed the boycott of Reisner's properties on their Facebook pages and Urban Bear club promoter Robert Valin has put an event scheduled for mid-May on hold for now.

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Face The Nation Host To Tony Perkins:
We Almost Didn't Have You On Because You Are A Known Hate Group Leader

Via Crooks & Liars:
As the nation prepares for the Supreme Court to possibly decide whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, it was clear on Sunday that even anti-gay crusader Tony Perkins was having difficulty being taken seriously by the mainstream media. During a discussion about marriage equality on Face the Nation, CBS host Bob Schieffer began by noting that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had determined that Perkins' organization, the Family Research Council, was a "hate group." "The Southern Poverty Law Center has branded the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group," Schieffer explained as if it were a warning to his viewers. "We have been inundated by people who say we should not even let you appear because they, in their view -- quote -- you don't speak for Christians."
Perkins brushed off Shieffer's introduction and then denied that he has called for impeaching the Supreme Court. Which he just did two days ago. Watch the clip and stick around for Evan Wolfson's typically thoughtful reactions.

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Brian Brown: NOM Is Going Global (Because We Can't Win At Home)

Via Buzzfeed:
The National Organization for Marriage is continuing to work towards the creation of an International Organization for Marriage, NOM President Brian Brown told BuzzFeed News in an interview just before the start of NOM’s March for Marriage in Washington on Saturday. Brown has also been working to build formal ties internationally outside of his role at NOM, most notably as a board member of the Spain-based conservative online advocacy platform CitizenGo that now says it collaborates with organizations in 50 different countries. “We’re working with everyone that we can that believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman all around the world,” Brown said, adding that this was a logical extension of conversations his organization has long participated in with activists in other countries. Brown wasn’t certain of when an International Organization for Marriage would officially launch, but said, “I think there will be a formal launch” at some point.
This isn't exactly breaking news as NOM has recently participated in several anti-LGBT campaigns overseas, most recently in September when Brian Brown attended the World Congress of Families summit at the Kremlin. That event concluded with a formal written call (issued in both English and Russian) for more nations to criminalize homosexuality.

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Laverne Cox On Bruce Jenner

Emmy-winning actress Laverne Cox attended the White House Correspondents Dinner last night as the guest of the Washington Blade, where she was interviewed about Bruce Jenner by MSNBC's Janet Mock.
"I spoke to Bruce today, and they were really pleased with the way things went last night," said Cox, referring to Jenner and Diane Sawyer's ABC News exclusive interview. "I think a lot of people tuned in expecting to see a spectacle, and they tuned in and saw a profoundly nuanced, complicated, beautiful human being," said the Orange Is the New Black star. "I thought ABC handled it really beautifully...I had spoken to Bruce several months back, and the same person I had spoken to on the phone, who really just loves their children so much and wants their family to be happy, was the person I saw on television last night."

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President Obama Cracks Gay Jokes At White House Correspondents' Dinner

Starnes is probably referring to this line: "I tease Joe sometimes, but he has been at my side for seven years, I love that man. He's not just a great vice president, he is a great friend. We've gotten so close in some places in Indiana, they won't serve us pizza anymore." Or maybe this one: "Rick Santorum announced that he would not attend the same-sex wedding of a friend or a loved one, to which gays and lesbians across the country responded, 'That's not gonna be a problem.'" The president's full speech is below.

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Haters Have The GoFundMe Sadz

Todd Starnes writes at Fox News:
Within hours of the ruling, the Family Research Council facilitated the establishment of a GoFundMe account to help the Kleins raise the money the need. In less than eight hours, more than $100,000 was raised. However, late Friday GoFundMe pulled the plug — sending this message to would-be donors: “After careful review by our team, we have found the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions,” the message read. “The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins blasted the harsh penalty levied against the Kleins. “The state of Oregon has given a new meaning to shotgun weddings,” Perkins said. “You will be forced to participate in same-sex weddings and violate your beliefs.”

It’s not exactly clear what led GoFundMe to drop the fundraising drive - but Perkins blamed it on gay activists. “This reveals two very important aspects of the redefinition of marriage, Americans are not going along with it and two - the intolerance of those trying to redefine marriage is historically unprecedented,” Perkins said. Samaritan's Purse, a Christian ministry run by Franklin Graham, has stepped up and offered to raise funds for the embattled Christian couple. Aaron Klein told me they will appeal the judge’s recommended fine. “All Americans should be free to live and work by their faith without the fear of the government punishing them,” he told me. Klein told me the gay rights activists won’t be satisfied until her family is living in a homeless shelter.
The Samaritan's Purse fundraising page does not show amounts.

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Dozens Line Up Outside Supreme Court

Equality Case Files reports that dozens are lined up outside the Supreme Court this morning. The line actually began some time on Friday and it rained on them last night. See the Twitter feed for many more photos.

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WaPo Reports On NOM's Hate March

Via the Washington Post:
Busloads of people from across the country descended onto the Mall on Saturday to voice opposition to same-sex marriage. This week, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on whether state restrictions on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. “Children don’t need experiments,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “They need the love of their mother and father, wherever possible.” The crowd was overwhelmingly Latino, many rallying behind New York state Sen. Rubén Díaz Sr. (D), a Bronx minister, who rallied the crowd in Spanish. Several held Catholic red banners and March for Marriage signs printed in English and Spanish.

The crowd chanted a Spanish phrase that roughly translates to “Without God, the country is going down.” Dulce Nuñez said she was supposed to work Saturday at a hotel in Manhattan but decided to instead come to Washington on her church’s bus. “The courts have no right to change what God made,” said Nuñez, 39. “We fight for children.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, wanted to send videos to the rally, but National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said organizers chose to focus the event on religious leaders. He noted that several Republican presidential candidates were in Iowa on Saturday for a Faith and Freedom Coalition rally.
Brown claims attendance was 7000.

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Freedom To Marry: Our Closing Argument

Via press release:
Ahead of Tuesday's oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, Freedom to Marry released a national TV ad showing that America, all of it, is ready for same-sex couples to marry. The spot begins airing on three Sunday morning political shows and 60 Minutes, in addition to national cable programs throughout next week.

“With this latest ad, Freedom to Marry is summing up our closing argument, in hopes of closing our doors after getting the national win,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “After 30-plus years of doing marriage work, I am gratified that we're in such a strong place as we head into court on Tuesday. The American people have resoundingly and unequivocally embraced the side of love and fairness. We hope the Supreme Court does the right thing and agrees with more than 60 federal and state courts that have held marriage discrimination unconstitutional. America is ready for the freedom to marry. It's time.”

60% of Americans support the freedom to marry, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll released last week. In the event that the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage nationwide this summer, Freedom to Marry, which was founded in 2003 and is the sole national organization dedicated to winning marriage for same-sex couples, will shut its doors, its mission having been completed.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mat Staver At Hate March: Christians Have No Choice But To Disobey SCOTUS

He's totally not getting gay-married! That'll learn 'em!

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LIVE VIDEO: NOM's Hate March 3

UPDATE: The live-stream has concluded.

PHOTO CREDITS: Photos of the crackpot signs are by JMG reader Albert.

UPDATE II: JMG reader Jonathan sends us his Flickr report.

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GEORGIA: Print Shop Refuses To Print Wedding Invitations For Lesbian Couple

Citing his religious beliefs, the owner of an AlphaGraphics print shop franchise in suburban Atlanta has refused to print wedding invitations for a lesbian couple. Via Atlanta's NBC affiliate:
Paige Beckwith says throughout her wedding planning process she has been open with vendors that there would be two brides on the wedding day. She says none of the vendors seemed to care, but him. Beckwith says she contacted the company after being referred by a friend. They were trying to go with a train theme. Their engagement photos, taken by Snap Shots By Allie, were on railroad tracks. Their reception would be at an old train depot in Lawrenceville. They wanted the invitations to look like a train ticket, so she needed a company that could design and print them. "The owner called me back and let me know that he's not going to print our invitations because he does not support same sex marriage," said Beckwith. "I kept asking him how, why, how he could do this? He just basically stood on his religious beliefs, referenced the Bible, called it a sin, and I was basically in tears saying how could you treat me this way?," she recalled.
The AlphaGraphics main office has denounced its franchisee and promised to print the invitations at no charge. They have also issued a statement:
We do not condone discrimination of any kind, and wish to make clear that customers of any race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome at our franchisees' locations nationwide. We also wish to apologize to the customers who were impacted by the actions of this franchisee, and hope that our response conveys the level of commitment we feel toward upholding our company's standards of inclusion, and that all members of the Suwanee community continue to feel welcome at AlphaGraphics.
Georgia does not protect LGBT residents from business discrimination. (Tipped by JMG reader Todd)

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Rep. Jared Polis Intros House Bill To Stop Rep. Steve King From Introducing Bills

From the official site of openly gay Rep. Jared Polis:
On the heels of Rep. Steve King’s outrageous announcement Wednesday of his “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act,” Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02) today proposed the “Restrain Steve King from Legislating Act.” The bill would prevent Steve King from abusing taxpayer dollars by substituting the judgments of the nation’s duly serving judicial branch of government with his own beliefs.

“For too long, Steve King has overstepped his constitutionally nonexistent judicial authority,” Polis said. “Mr. King has perverted the Constitution to create rights to things such as discrimination, bullying, and disparate treatment. These efforts to enshrine these appalling values as constitutional rights were not envisioned by the voters, or by King’s colleagues who must currently try to restrain his attempts to single-handedly rewrite the nation’s founding principles on a bill-by-bill basis.

“I urge the House to bring this bill to the floor. If passed, my bill would preserve the right of millions of voters in all 50 states who would prefer that Steve King refrain from legislating a role for himself in their marriage decisions.”
(Tipped by JMG reader Dustin)

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Reporter To "Ex-Gay" Nutter: You're Gay As A Goose And Just Can't Admit It

British anti-gay group Christian Concern has posted the below BBC interview in which Buzzfeed UK reporter Patrick Strudwick confronts an "ex-gay" proponent, telling him that they'd met while Strudwick was undercover and he is clearly "as gay as a goose and just can't admit it."

RELATED: Five years ago I reported on Strudwick's undercover work in Britain's "ex-gay" network.

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Breitbart Headline Of The Day

Similar headlines can be found across Teabagistan.

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GoFundMe Cancels Money Beg For Bakers

According the Family Research Council, late last night GoFundMe deleted the money beg for the Oregon bakers who yesterday were hit with a recommended $135K fine for refusing to serve a lesbian couple. Top conservative figures including Erick Erickson, Rick Santorum, and Tony Perkins had promoted the money beg to their followers. Apparently GoFundMe's terms of service do not allow raising money for those convicted of crimes.

UPDATE: GoFundMe has issued a statement.
"After careful review by our team, we have found the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled."
So it looks like they'll still get the $110K.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Bruce Jenner: I'm A Woman

Via ABC News:
Bruce Jenner was once hailed as the greatest athlete in the world and later became a reality television star with one of the world’s most famous families. Now, the former Olympian is revealing a secret that has caused him turmoil for decades. “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” Jenner told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview that aired Friday in a special two-hour edition of ABC News’ “20/20.” “People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life -- it is part of me,” Jenner, 65, said. “That female side is part of me. That’s who I am.”

In hours of interviews with Sawyer in New York and California, Jenner detailed his internal struggles with being transgender, which he said he has wrestled with since childhood. During the interview, Jenner referred to himself using male pronouns and ABC News has chosen to follow his lead, though he also referred to himself as “Bruce” and “her.” “I look at it this way—Bruce always telling a lie. He’s lived a lie his whole life about who he is. And I can’t do that any longer,” Jenner said. “My brain is much more female than it is male,” he added. “It’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what my soul is.”
During the interview Jenner revealed having cross-dressed since early childhood, but said that there had been no attraction to other boys. Quoting a researcher, Diana Sawyer said, "Sexuality orientation is who you go to bed with. Gender identity is who you go to bed as." Jenner: "It's apples and oranges." More on that:
Jenner tells ABC that when it comes to attraction, “No, I’m not gay. I am not gay. I am, as far as I know -- heterosexual.” “I’ve never been with a guy -- I’ve always been married, raising kids, doing all that kind of stuff.” Jenner adds. "There’s two different things here. Sexuality is who you personally are attracted to—who turns you on— male or female. But gender identity has to do with who you are as a person and your soul, and who you identify with inside, okay?"
Overall, the show was thoughtful, revealing, and both sad and light-hearted, often in the same moment. Towards the end Jenner also came out as a conservative Republican who is no fan of President Obama, which surely exploded many heads across Teabagistan. Log Cabin immediately rushed out a press release:
As the nation’s only organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies, Log Cabin Republicans congratulates Bruce Jenner in the tremendous courage he demonstrated tonight, being true to himself both in terms of his personal identity as well as his political identity. There is a home for you in Log Cabin Republicans — as there is for all lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender conservatives and straight allies.
The weekend news cycle will doubtlessly be dominated by reactions and analysis of tonight's show (sorry about that NOM!) and I'll have more tomorrow.

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Hotelier Mati Weiderpass: My Meeting With Ted Cruz Was Good For LGBT Rights

"I am happy to see such passion and energy in support of gay rights. We just need to channel that passion and energy to those who would deny us those rights. The dinner with Ted Cruz happened only because IT WAS NOT A FUNDRAISER. It was about security for Israel, but it also gave me a rare opportunity to address the gay issues for which Ted Cruz has championed against. THREE FACTS WILL MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR TED CRUZ TO BE THE CHAMPION AGAINST GAY RIGHTS: 1) he had a private dinner (not a fund raiser) at a gay couples home, 2) he is in several pictures at that gay household, and 3) he stated he would love his daughter the same if she were gay. Those facts are difficult to reconcile with his stance on gay issues -- Ted's far right anti-gay supporters are screaming now. We need to be persistent with our message and it will slowly seep thru even to those most vehemently against gay rights.

"Ken Mehlman was the Chair of the Republican National Committee whose platform included several anti-gay positions. Later in life Ken was instrumental in the passage of Gay Marriage in NY State. People's views can be changed over time. I worked 6 years for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which required many unpleasant conversations with people who opposed Gays in the Military. And it worked! THE GAY MOVEMENT NEEDS YOUR HELP. Tell those people that are against us or just neutral, that gay people have families, friends, some worship in church and we don't want to be demonized. Light up social media with calls for the SUPREME COURT TO RULE IN FAVOR OF GAY MARRIAGE! ‪#‎SUPREMESFORMARRIAGE‬ - Manhattan hotelier Mati Weiderpass, posting to the Facebook boycott page. (Tipped by JMG reader BD)

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Former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint: Please Attend NOM's Marriage Hate March

Talk about last minute.

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Tammy Bruce Belittles Trans Children

Via Raw Story:
Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce argued this week that a school lesson about tolerance had been wrong because being transgender made as much sense to children as thinking they were a “cocker spaniel.” During a “Trouble With Schools” segment on Wednesday’s edition of Fox & Friends, host Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested that officials at Mitchell Primary School in Maine read children a story about a transgender girl “as a plan or an indoctrination on the part of the school to get to kids first.” “This is about conditioning, and not just of the children, but of the parents as well,” Bruce agreed. “The implication here is that if you are left to your own devices as a parent, something will go wrong, that they have to intervene. That of course, has got to be rejected.” “You know, look, at a point when I was a child, I thought I was a cocker spaniel,” she quipped. “And there’s a point when we have these fantasies where we think we’re Superman, where we can fly, where we’re the cat. This is childhood. And this is why this is particularly troubling.”
As you can see, Tammy Bruce is ever so pissed that people actually dare to disagree with her. Zack Ford wrote much more about this incident at Think Progress.

RELATED: Tammy Bruce regularly speaks at virulently anti-LGBT events such as CPAC where she happily shares the stage with hate group leaders who advocate for the criminalization of homosexuality.

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OREGON: Hearing Officer Suggests $135K Fine For Anti-Gay Bakery Couple

Via Oregon Live:
The lesbian couple turned away by a Gresham bakery that refused to make them a wedding cake for religious reasons should receive $135,000 in damages for their emotional suffering, a state hearings officer says. Rachel Bowman-Cryer should collect $75,000 and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 from the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a proposed order released Friday, April 24. Bureau prosecutors sought $75,000 for each woman -- $150,000 total -- during a hearing on damages in March. The amounts recommended by law judge Alan McCullough, coming after four days of testimony, are not final. State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has the final authority to raise, lower or leave the proposed damages as is.
Tony Perkins is going apeshit:
An Oregon judge made clear in no uncertain terms to the Kleins and all Oregonians that the state has the right to demand that citizens engage in activities that violate their beliefs and if they refuse, they will lose their ability to make a living. In a free country, this is a ruling that cannot and must not stand. In the State of Oregon's view, the Kleins need to be 'rehabilitated' and 'reeducated' - terms actually used by the Oregon Attorney General - regarding their religious views on the nature of marriage. Needless to say, government re-education regimes are more reminiscent of fascism than democracy. A government able to bankrupt people for standing by their deepest beliefs is a government of unbridled power and a threat to everyone's freedom. Our prayer and hope is that these fines will be overturned by a judge who remains committed to constitutional freedoms and that individual liberty will triumph over intrusive over reaching government. The heavy hand of the state must not be used to punish and fine people for merely seeking to live according to their beliefs.
The couple has already launched a GoFundMe page.

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CRUZ FALLOUT: Broadway Cares Cancels AIDS Fundraiser At Ian Reisner's Hotel

From the executive director of Broadway Cares:
It is with regret that we have decided to cancel this year’s edition of the Broadway Bares Solo Strips fundraiser, which was scheduled for May 10 at the NYC club 42West. We cannot in good conscience hold an event at a venue whose owners have alienated our community, as reflected in an April 23 New York Times story and an April 24 follow-up post. We do business with and accept fundraising support from a variety of people across a wide spectrum of political and religious affiliations. The rich diversity of our community makes what we do together so special. It is a rare instance where the actions of a donor negatively impacts us as an organization and potentially jeopardizes our relationship with others whose support is integral to our success. But when it does occur, in a way that’s blatantly against all we stand and work for, we can’t pretend it doesn’t come with consequences. Silence is not a neutral position. It is complicit. This is not about partisan politics or punishment. This is about doing what’s right to ultimately ensure that our commitment to the men, women and children we serve cannot be questioned.
Fallout has been equally swift across Manhattan's clubland. Links to the boycott of Reisner's properties have been posted by top New York City club promoters John Blair and Mark Nelson, both of whom have worked with Reisner's clubs in the past. Facebook pages for Reisner's various businesses have been deluged with negative comments and vows to stay away. Also interesting are boycott pledges by summer-long residents of Fire Island Pines, who would have few other options as Reisner recently paid $10M for 80% of the resort town's commercial district. At this writing the boycott's Facebook group has grown to over 4100 members in just one day.

NOTE: Broadway Bares 25 will take place as scheduled at the Hammerstein Ballroom on June 24th. Get tickets here.

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Crackpot E.W. Jackson: Christians Are Ready To Die Over Same-Sex Marriage

"People have to remember Christians have died for our faith. We have died for our commitment for  the word of God. So the idea that those of us who believe are just going to roll over due to social pressure when we know that we follow a long line of heroes of the faith who have surrendered everything? We're certainly not going to back up just because people are upset with us. I think that we are sowing the seeds of our internal destruction. We believe that we answer to a higher authority. Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. We will give our lives standing for the truth." - E.W. Jackson, ready to die over same-sex marriage.

PREVIOUSLY ON JMG:  E.W. Jackson says Christianity is the world's only real religion. E.W. Jackson says using his own words against him violates the Constitution. E.W. Jackson launches petition to legalize anti-gay discrimination nationwide. E.W. Jackson says Satan supports the separation of church and state. E.W. Jackson joins international coalition to criminalize homosexuality. E.W. Jackson joins hate group rally against Virginia marriage. E.W. Jackson says women who commit sins give birth to deformed babies. E.W. Jackson says God invented the Tea Party because Obama got elected.

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AG Eric Holder Lauds LGBT Triumphs In Goodbye Speech To Justice Department

Attorney General Eric Holder has left the building. But not before a press conference in which he righteously spiked the ball about the LGBT triumphs seen during his tenure. Moments ago the Department Of Justice joined in on Twitter by posting the above photo. Earlier today the DOJ posted the below recap of Holder's life and six years with the Obama administration. When the history books of this time in our movement are written, Eric Holder should have his own chapter. Maybe two.

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Wells Fargo Ad Stars Adoptive Gay Moms Learning Sign Language For Daughter

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"I'm Not Gay No More" Viral Video Dude Involved In Yogurt-Throwing Fracas

So this happened in Missouri:
A heated confrontation at a University City FroYo Frozen Yogurt shop ended with a cashier throwing frozen yogurt on a customer, according to police. Security video from the business shows a customer throwing money at a cashier. Seconds later you can see the cashier throw a bowl of frozen yogurt at the customer. The customer, Andrew Caldwell, said he was trying to get a discount on his yogurt, adding that the cashier called him a homosexual slur. "The bowl hit me all in my face, my nose," Caldwell said.

Caldwell gained some recognition in 2014, when an internet video of him at a church went viral. In the video, Caldwell announced, "I don't like men no more." Caldwell said ever since then, people have attacked him when out in public. He believes the cashier recognized him from the video. However, the cashier tells a different story. Fox 2's Anthony Kiekow asked Stephanie Diaz if she called Caldwell a homosexual slur Thursday. "That is not true," she said. "I am gay." Diaz also said that she had never seen Caldwell's viral video and that he started the confrontation. "He showed me his driver's license, and he was like, 'I need a (expletive) discount, you (expletive)," Diaz said.
The cashier has been charged with third-degree assault. (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

RELATED: The COGIC preacher in the infamous clip will be one of the speakers tomorrow at NOM's hate march.

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Stunning PFLAG Canada Ad Remembers All The Weddings That Never Happened

Holy crap, this is gorgeous. Get the tissues, seriously.

(Via Good As You)

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Tony Perkins: Impeach Supreme Court Justices If They Rule For Gay Marriage

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Celebs For Marriage Equality

Susan Sarandon, Tony Hawk, Anthony Boudain, Kristin Chenoweth, John Ridley, and many more.

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Tweet Of The Day - Ben Carson

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New Details About NYC's Nordstrom Tower

New York Yimby has some new details about midtown's coming Nordstrom Tower, which is now under construction.
Permits for the tower have continued to shift slightly in recent months, but the documents YIMBY previously obtained indicated the building would have a roof height of 1,479 feet and a pinnacle height of 1,775 feet, which would make it the tallest residential tower on the planet. Final figures are likely to be within a hair of both numbers. Compared to the world’s tallest buildings, 217 West 57th Street would rank fifth if it were built today, standing almost 1,000 feet shorter than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and by 2018 it may not crack the global top ten. But its roof will be substantially taller than both One World Trade Center and Willis Tower. The most recent figures put 217 West 57th’s Spire one foot below the WTC’s 1,776-foot pinnacle.

Despite this, the slight elevation of Midtown compared to the Financial District (a net gain of approximately 70 feet) will mean that 217 West 57th Street’s spire will actually rise approximately 1,850 feet above sea level. While the WTC may retain the title of NYC’s tallest by spire height, 217 West 57th’s relative prominence to most New Yorkers will actually be somewhat greater. 432 Park Avenue passed the WTC’s roof last year, and One Vanderbilt will likely do so in about 2017. 432 Park is currently regarded as somewhat tall relative to its surrounds, but the appearance of new buildings like 217 West 57th and 111 West 57th will quickly even out the disparities in the skyline, as will the rezoning of Midtown East, which may result in Manhattan’s tallest towers yet.
The tower is due to be completed in 2018 and will host a massive Nordstrom store, a hotel, and several hundred condos. The penthouse is expected to feature the highest outdoor space in the city. (The rendering above shows the 70th floor observation deck at Rockefeller Center.) Within five years or so the Empire State may not be among the ten tallest buildings in town. The Nordstrom Tower is #27 in the "coming soon" rendering below. Embiggen for a huge version.

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TENNESSEE: Straight Swingers Sex Club Seeks To Incorporate As Church

Via the Associated Press:
A Nashville swingers club has undergone a conversion — it says it's now a church — in order to win city approval so it can open next to a Christian school. The story began last fall, when a fixture in downtown Nashville called The Social Club sold its building and purchased a new one in a run-down office park several miles to the east. The new building is geographically isolated at the end of a dead-end street, but it is near the back of Goodpasture Christian School, a large private school serving pre-school through high school children.

It might have been years before school officials and parents learned what was going on inside The Social Club — its website says it is "a private club for the enjoyment of both men and women ... to engage in any sexual activity" — if someone had not sent anonymous letters to the school president and the local councilwoman. Both say the person who tipped them off claimed to be a concerned club member, although they don't know that for sure.

Parents and religious leaders were called on to pack the Metro Nashville Council chambers to support a zoning change to prevent the club from opening. That's when the club, which had spent $750,000 on the building and begun renovations, suddenly transformed into a church. The United Fellowship Center's plans are nearly identical to those of The Social Club but with some different labels. The dance floor has become the sanctuary. Two rooms labeled "dungeon" are now "choir" and "handbells." Forty-nine small, private rooms remain, but most of them have become prayer rooms.
RELATED: Porno Pete regularly screams about the continuing existence of gay bathhouses in the United States, which currently number fewer than 30. Yet he says nothing about straight sex clubs, which number in the thousands. According to this site, 563 straight swingers clubs are presently in operation across the nation. And then there are the estimated 4000 strip clubs, many of which offer private "champagne rooms" for patrons to have alone-time with the dancers.

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal: I'll Accept Any Same-Sex Marriage Ruling By SCOTUS

Shocker. Very anti-gay GOP Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal says that however SCOTUS rules on same-sex marriage, he will accept the result.
“Federal constitutional issues trump state constitutional issues, " Deal told "A Closer Look" host Denis O'Hayer. "So we will abide by whatever the Supreme Court rules as an interpretation of the United States Constitution.” On Wednesday, State Attorney General Sam Olens said he'll follow the U.S. Supreme Court's order. Deal also spoke about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, SB 129, which was stalled in the House Judiciary Committee in the final days of the state Legislature this year. "What I want is to protect individuals' right of religious freedom without causing the kind of uproar that we saw occur in Indiana and in Arkansas," Deal said.
Deal added that he doesn't believe same-sex marriage "rises to the level of attracting a national, constitutional amendment to overrule the Supreme Court or the federal courts."  One less pitchfork for Scott Lively to buy, huh? (Tipped by JMG reader TJ)

RELATED: In a 2010 campaign ad, Deal attacked his GOP primary opponent with a radio ad that said this: "The last straw. For some, it’s Karen Handel’s support for taxpayer-funded gay partner benefits. For others, the last straw is Karen Handel’s vote to give our tax dollars to Youth Pride, a group that promotes homosexuality among teenagers as young as 13. But for all, the lies Karen Handel tells about Nathan Deal — a veteran, former prosecutor and judge, to hide what she’s done — are the last straw." In the early 90s Deal served two terms in the US House as a Democrat, but he switched parties in 1995 when Republicans took control, saying that he was a huge fan of newly-elected Speaker Newt Gingrich's infamous Contract With America.

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Str8 Prom D8

Via Huffington Post:
As a student council member at his high school, Anthony Martinez is often tasked with planning school dances. But the 17-year-old, who is gay, says that he “never [gets] asked.” Until now, that is. Martinez, who attends Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, shared on Twitter this week that he was asked to prom by someone entirely unexpected. It was his best friend, Jacob Lescenski -- who is straight. Lescenski told New Now Next that he had decided to surprise Martinez with the promposal after seeing his friend tweet about wanting a date for the event. “I decided on going to prom alone because my original date idea didn’t work out so well,” he said. “Then one night I saw Anthony, who is my best friend, tweeting about wanting a date. So, I came up with the poster idea, asked my friend Mia to make it and asked him that next day … It was a giant surprise to everyone, especially Anthony!” A thrilled Martinez expressed his gratitude to his BFF on social media.
Hella cute.

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Comcast-TWC Merger Is Dead

CNN Money reports:
Comcast is planning to walk away from its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable after pursuing it for more than a year. The decision comes amid intense, possibly insurmountable scrutiny of the deal by government regulators. It is an extraordinary turnabout for a cable giant not accustomed to losing. The deal would have reshaped American media and given Comcast unique control over the market for broadband Internet. But on the bright side for Comcast, the deal has no "breakup fee" -- industry parlance for a financial penalty for giving up on the merger. The collapse of the merger, first reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday afternoon, came one day after a series of meetings between the cable companies and government officials. The officials shared a long list of reservations about the proposed combination of two cable and broadband companies and indicated they may take action to block it.
The formal announcement will come today.

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Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25 Years

From NASA:
The brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life resemble a glittering fireworks display in the 25th anniversary NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the solar system and beyond since its launch on April 24, 1990. “Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science.” The sparkling centerpiece of Hubble’s anniversary fireworks is a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2, named for Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund who discovered the grouping in the 1960s. The cluster resides in a raucous stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Carina.

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Ted Cruz Files Two Anti-Gay Marriage Bills

Via Bloomberg:
Days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage, Senator Ted Cruz has filed two bills to protect states that bar gay couples from marrying. Cruz's legislation would establish a constitutional amendment shielding states that define marriage as between one woman and one man from legal action, according to bill language obtained by Bloomberg News. A second bill would bar federal courts from further weighing in on the marriage issue until such an amendment is adopted. While Cruz's legislation would face solid opposition in the Senate, it is an attempt to force his competitors to keep the issue alive even if the court rules in favor of same-sex marriage. Last year, Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee filed similar legislation to protect more than 30 states that currently define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but those bills died when the session in a Democratic-controlled congress ended.
The bills are here and here.

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